In M. John Harrison's dangerously illuminating new novel, three quantum outlaws face a universe of their own creation, a universe where you make up the rules as you go along and break them just as fast, where there's only one thing more mysterious than darkness. In contemporary London, Michael Kearney is a serial killer on the run from the entity that drives him to kill. He is seeking escape in a future that doesn't yet exist--a quantum world that he and his physicist partner hope to access through a breach of time and space itself. In this future, Seria Mau Genlicher has already sacrificed her body to merge into the systems of her starship, the White Cat. But the "inhuman" K-ship captain has gone rogue, pirating the galaxy while playing cat and mouse with the authorities who made her what she is. In this future, Ed Chianese, a drifter and adventurer, has ridden dynaflow ships, run old alien mazes, surfed stellar envelopes. He "went deep"--and lived to tell about it. Once crazy for life, he's now just a twink on New Venusport, addicted to the bizarre alternate realities found in the tanks--and in debt to all the wrong people. Haunting them all through this maze of menace and mystery is the shadowy presence of the Shrander--and three enigmatic clues left on the barren surface of an asteroid under an ocean of light known as the Kefahuchi Tract: a deserted spaceship, a pair of bone dice, and a human skeleton. Praise for Light "Uproarious, breath-taking, exhilarating . . . This is a novel of full spectrum literary dominance. . . . It is a work of--and about--the highest order."--Guardian "An increasingly complex and dazzling narrative . . . Light depicts its author as a wit, an awesomely fluent and versatile prose stylist, and an SF thinker as dedicated to probing beneath surfaces as William Gibson is to describing how the world looks when reflected in them. . . . SF fans and skeptics alike are advised to head towards this Light."--Independent
"Light is a literary singularity: at one and the same time a grim, gaudy space opera that respects the physics, and a contemporary novel that unflinchingly revisits the choices that warp a life. It's almost unbearably good."--Ken MacLeod, author of Engine City
- ISBN-13: 9780553382952
- ISBN-10: 0553382950
- Publisher: Spectra Books
- Publish Date: August 2004
- Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.05 pounds
- Page Count: 336
Light in the deepest dark
M. John Harrison's latest novel, Light, arrives from the U.K. having already won the Tiptree Award and follows the critical and sales success of his short fiction collection, Things That Never Happen. Light is a genre-bending novel, part space opera, part murder mystery, maybe something entirely new.
Harrison is an immensely confident writer: confident in his writing, the power of his narrative and in his readers. He quickly introduces us to three narratives that eventually intertwine in an unexpected and marvelous manner. Michael Kearney is a physicist on the cusp of transforming his field. Seria Mau Genlicher is a 24th-century woman who has fused her body and mind to an ancient and little-understood alien spaceship. Ed Chianese is the most stable of the three, but perhaps only because he spends most of his time immersed in virtual realities he can't really afford. Chianese has to flee the local mob when he reaches his credit limit and ends up working at a backwater circus.
None of these characters are particularly sympathetic, but neither are they the cardboard cutouts of old science fiction. These are believable people in a believable 24th century where there are areas of space in which the laws of physics don't work, there is fascinatingly weird and shiny alien technology, and people are scraping by on the edges of mainstream society.
Harrison's writing is top-notch and involving. He takes old ideas and mechanisms from early science fiction (abandoned alien technology, wars that occur in the blink of an eye) and invigorates them with a sense of possibility and even, strange within this dark and foreboding book, transcendence and hope.
Gavin J. Grant writes from Northampton, Massachusetts.